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Diagnosing Back & Neck Pain

Often times, patients experience back pain for a number of reasons. When we say “diagnosing back pain”, we are referring to revealing the underlying cause of the pain, numbness, or weakness you are feeling in your back, not the pain itself. The different symptoms could be caused by multiple different conditions, and immediately going to the doctor to get diagnosed and treated is recommended. The process of diagnosis can depend on how severe the pain or numbness is, the frequency of the symptoms, and a simple process of elimination method.


Physical Examination

The first thing that is going to happen when you see your physician for back pain is a Q&A discussion, which is the beginning of a physical examination. The questions being asked are important because you will cover everything from what allergies you have to the precise point of the affected area in your back. The nurses and doctor need to know this information in order to be able to properly treat whatever condition they ultimately diagnose. Also, as a part of the physical exam, the doctor will most likely apply pressure with his hands, similar to a massage, to the injured area or the area you are feeling pain. If the pain persists or increases due to applied pressure, it could narrow down the possible conditions. If your physician cannot eliminate enough possible issues, then he might issue some diagnostic imaging procedures, which are an MRI or X-rays.


MRI and X-rays

Diagnostic imaging is the process of using different wave lengths to literally take pictures of the inside of your body. An MRI is going to be recommended if the doctor believes there is some type of soft tissue damage. For example, if the physical exams results in the doctor believing you have torn a tendon or ligament, then they will recommend an MRI to confirm this and make sure that you don’t have anything else, such as a tumor, inside the affected area. MRIs work best to view muscles, ligaments, tendons, and any other soft tissue injuries that may be causing pain. Conversely, if the physical exam leads your physician to believe you have a broken or fractured bone, such as a vertebra, then they will recommend an X-ray, which will take pictures of the bones in the area that you are experiencing pain. With X-rays, the doctor will be able to tell if there is any abnormality in the harder parts of the body, such as the bone.


MRIs and X-rays are not always needed, but, when used, can better help diagnose the underlying cause of your back pain. If the physician can correctly diagnose and treat the issue without MRIs or X-rays, then you might save some time and money. Regardless, Become Pain Free can help guide you in the right direction to begin a physical examination, which will ultimately lead to a diagnosis and treatment of your back pain. Call Become Pain Free today so we can help you recover from any pain hindering you from performing daily activities and living life to the fullest.


Why Choose Become Pain Free?

From chiropractors to pain management specialists to expert spine surgeons, Become Pain Free can help get rid of your pain so you can get your life back on track. To learn more about how we can help, fill out the form on the right or call 888-373-3720. We'll connect you with the right specialist so you can stop living in pain.Call Become Pain Free... your pain solution.

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Become Pain Free is a group of doctors specializing in pain relief.

Posture and Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is a miserable experience. Although some cases of neck pain are caused by an injury, many are simply due to poor posture. Poor posture stresses the muscles of the neck and can cause muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Over time, the stresses of poor posture on the neck can cause degenerative diseases to develop in the discs and bones of the neck. Forward head A very commonly seen posture that puts a lot of strain on the neck is the forward head. The individual habitually thrusts the head forward, carrying it out in front of the shoulders. In this position, the weight of the head is constantly pulling on the spine and the shoulders. Sitting for hours hunched over a desk or a computer is a common cause of forward head. Many people with this habitual forward head carriage suffer from sore shoulders as well as a sore neck. Over time, the vertebrae at the base of the neck (C5 and C6) can develop painful degenerative conditions due to the constant weight of the head pulling on them in the forward head posture. Correct posture A correct posture is one that keeps the spine in alignment. Some people call it a neutral or balanced posture. One exercise to encourage a neutral posture is to focus on opening the chest wide as you try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Once your chest is open, bring your head into alignment. Think of a string pulling up the top of your head and lengthening the neck. When you do this, your chin will tuck in and your head will naturally shift into proper alignment with your spine. Do the open chest/ string exercise multiple times a day. Other exercises to build better posture are head nods and chin tucks. To do a head nod, slowly nod your head slightly up and down without moving your neck. To do chin tucks, tip your nose down toward the ground and move the top of your head backwards. Repeat head nods and chin tucks several times a day. These exercises strengthen the muscles on the front of the neck. Individuals with habitual forward head posture usually have very weak muscles in the front of the neck. If you've worked hard at correcting your posture and you are still suffering from neck pain, why not give us a call?

Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.